Church suicide bombing seriously injures 11

By September 27, 2011

Indonesia (MNN) — A suicide bomber killed only himself in an attack on an Indonesian church on Sunday. There were at least 11 believers seriously injured. Nine remain in the hospital, two in critical condition due to lodged shrapnel in a girl's skull and her father's back.

The state of the church building is still unknown.

Pastor Yonathan had been preaching about the martyrdom of Stephen when nails, nuts and bolts burst through the sanctuary in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia, confirms Open Doors, USA. The 100 members of the church began to scream and run out of the building.

The bomber apparently detonated the bomb directly outside the church's front door.

According to Open Doors, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promptly condemned yesterday's church attack, stating that initial investigations indicated a probable link with a network in Cirebon where another suicide bomber had attacked a police mosque six months ago, killing only himself but wounding 30 police officers and local authorities.

Paul Estabrooks
with Open Doors says the reasons behind the attacks may be complicated, but essentially it's a matter of Muslim extremist agendas.

"The strong Muslim community — and especially the extremist group among them — wants to establish Sharia law throughout the island," explains Estabrooks. "They see the church as the biggest stumbling block in the way of their plan."

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation. A move for Islamic law is no surprise, and Estabrooks says believers even expect such attacks.

As a result, Sunday's church bombing is unlikely to hinder Christian progress. "I think, in time, we will see some good come out of this in some way," says Estabrooks. "I think the believers realize that and are trusting God for that."

Believers are traumatized and in need of prayer for healing, but just two days later some are already responding with Christ's grace. One of the injured victims, Hari Daniel Restono, told Open Doors that he forgives the bomber.

"A young, 17-year-old injured victim of this terrible explosion says that he's already forgiven the bomber because he thought that what he was doing was the right way to practice his religion," says Estabrooks. This kind of forgiveness may open doors to share Christ's love and the message of salvation.

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